Silence your Fear Fox
How to silence your Fear fox on your way to destination gotta-do-this!
Ever felt a sudden surge of energy-sapping anxiety when you set out to do something important, something you’ve always wanted to do, something… finally… for you? It’s too easy to mistake this feeling as being a sign that you’re on the wrong track and give up!
Self-doubt creeps in and you become crippled from moving forward with your plans by the ever-present self-sabotaging thoughts of, I’m just not good enough!
Well, I have news for you; you’re not the only one that gets ambushed.
Meet the two foxes
We all have two foxes roaming the terrain of our tummies; the Fear fox and Fire fox. The Fear fox happily naps around the clock, only ever springing into action when we activate our Fire fox by setting out to do our gotta-do-thises!
Whereas, the Fire fox never rests, constantly negging us to become more of who we are supposed to be.
The key is acknowledging that the two foxes are real and here to stay! The question is, how do you silence your Fear fox when it springs into action and attempts to drown out your Fire fox with its (negative) howling and hollering?
Here are a few thoughts that you may find helpful, drawing on my experience of organising my first ever motivational talk series, Purpose2Impact, debuted in London on the 5th of June this year.
[Psss… the next one is coming this September in London, REGISTER HERE]
Take small practical steps towards your goal
One of the hardest challenges any of us will ever face is convincing ourselves that doing what (we know) we aught to do to gain genuine life fulfilment is worth holding our faces against the blowing winds of uncertainty for.
Too often, we exchange a false sense of security for a lifetime of refuge behind the high walls of excuse-after-excuse!
The false security can come in the form of a job that keeps us away from pursuing our passions and utilising our talents, or a relationship that does not serve us well, yet we hold on for fear of never finding someone that can accept us and love us.
Hear me out clearly; the devil you know is overrated, not better! But nobody gets out without a fight!
When I finally decided to take the bold step of putting on my first ever motivational talk, I had to go through the gears to grind out my growing fear. It came to a head the day I took a walk to the bank to pay for the venue. I was (actually) doing this!
Well, my Fear fox became enraged. Tummy rumbled so loud that any louder, it would have stopped traffic in central London. I felt physically sick and could not have lunch that day.
Still, I pressed on! Being decisive and following through, with simple yet important actions such as making that phone call you’ve been dreading to make or sending an application you’ve been putting off for fear of rejection becomes an act of defying your Fear fox. The simple act of paying for the venue gave me a sense of achievement, which rebooted my confidence and e-motional state.
You may, but your brain will not believe your lies
The difficulty with buying into our own false narratives about not being good enough is that the part of our brain that drives our inspirational/creative thinking continues to nag us, asking us to be more of who we are supposed to be, not merely who we have settled for.
So, when our Fire fox howls in frustration at us for not living up to our true potential, we listen out for the counter-howls and hollering of our Fear fox and say aha! It’s too unsafe to try, or I do not have enough money or time, or what if I try and fail…
So, what if you try and fail?
Nobody said it would be easy
… but it will always be worth it!
It was not easy for me to believe that I could organise and deliver a motivational talk. A whole motivational talk, me?
It was much easier to believe that such endeavours are for “the chosen” people such as Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Lisa Nichols and others. This untruth ignores the fact that the so-called “chosen people” started somewhere too. Most, if not all, failed along the way.
My I am not good enough ignored my extensive experience of public speaking and organising personal development and leadership events. That is because I was doing it for me this time, not for an organisation or firm.
The level of self-belief necessary to do something for you is way more than the confidence needed to do something for your employer. If it fails, you can feel like you are a failure. When, in fact, you should congratulate yourself for trying and keep going (improving)!
Keep the promises you make to yourself
For a while, my Fear fox did not break out of its perennial napping when I decided I would (finally) get on with organising my motivational talk. Why would my Fear fox be concerned in the slightest, when I had made similar declarations in the past but never followed through?
When we constantly tell our brains lies by not keeping promises we make to ourselves (and others), our brains become socialised to undermine our future attempts to step up to the mark by questioning our abilities and self-worth. This is where self-sabotaging thoughts come to the fore and stop us in our tracks.
To grow habits that your brain can believe and support, make promises that you can keep. If you say, “I will go to the gym once a week”, go to the gym once a week. It’s not good to plan to go to the gym three times a week and only go once or twice. Rather, review your plans, as your circumstances and needs change, and stay true to them.
Drop the Fear fox people and surround yourself with Fire fox people
One of the worst things people in your life can say to you when you are facing self-doubt is, “be realistic”. Such people, while they may be well-meaning, fail to see your potential and stock up your fear by drawing your focus only to your (current) limitations. I call such people the Fear fox people.
Unless you were born into privilege, you must fight to achieve success in your career and personal life. This requires seeing a reality for yourself that is not (yet) reflected or supported by your current circumstances.
In moments when you become disillusioned by the pressures of life (I guarantee, you will have such moments!), it is important that you have people in your life that can see it in you and for you. I call such people the Fire fox people.